Tips for avoiding drunk driving accidents on Arkansas roads

There is no way to guarantee that other drivers are not drunk, but there are things people can do to avoid drunk driving accidents.

Drunk driving accidents are all too common in Northwest Arkansas, and throughout the state, and often result in serious injuries or death. In fact, 24 percent of all traffic fatalities across the state in 2013 were alcohol related, according to the Arkansas State Police. In order to avoid being involved in these types of collisions, motorists can refrain from drinking and driving. However, there is no way to guarantee that others have done the same. Thus, it behooves drivers to know the signs of intoxication and what to do to avoid drunk drivers on Arkansas roads.

Alcohol causes dangerous impairments

Once consumed, alcohol may have a range of effects on the human body. These effects often lead to impairments, which may affect people's ability to safely operate motor vehicles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol consumption may cause people to have difficulty steering, controlling their speed, maintaining their lane position and braking appropriately. Drinking alcohol may also cause drivers to experience impaired vision, perception and judgment. Consequently, drivers who are under the influence may be more apt to cause car accidents than those who are sober.

Identifying potential drunk drivers

One of the most important things that people can do to avoid being involved in drunk driving collisions is to know the signs of intoxication. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving points out that some of the most common indicators that a motorist is under the influence include the following:

• Driving on the wrong side of the road or in areas not designated for vehicles

• Driving well below the posted speed limit

• Drifting in and out of lanes or weaving across the road

• Stopping erratically or without cause

• Responding slowly to traffic signals

• Failing to turn the vehicle's headlights on at night

By identifying potential drunk drivers, people may be able to take steps to avoid them on the road. This may help them prevent alcohol-related collisions.

Avoiding suspected drunk drivers

Spotting drivers that may be under the influence is not always enough to ensure people's safety. For their own safety, as well as the safety of those in their vehicles, it is recommended that motorists leave plenty of space between themselves and potential drunk drivers. They may consider slowing down and allowing the suspected intoxicated motorists to move past them or taking an alternative route. It is not advisable for drivers to follow potentially drunk drivers too closely, attempt to pass them or try to stop their vehicles.

However, if people suspect that someone is driving under the influence, it is important for them to notify the authorities. Typically, law enforcement officers will investigate the matter further. If the driver is intoxicated, the authorities will generally get him or her off of the road.

Seeking legal representation

Even when they take precautions, people in Arkansas, and elsewhere, may be involved in drunk driving accidents. As a result of such crashes, they may suffer injuries that require medical treatment and keep them from working. Such situations often lead to undue medical expenses and, sometimes, lost wages. Thus, those who have been injured in an alcohol-related collision may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights and help them understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.